Where I Am...

When you read this, I will be exploring Amsterdam with my family and friends.  Finally - a proper playdate with Sara and her adorable kids!  I'm thinking we will be bike riding, cruising the canal, touring playgrounds, and maybe catching some Van Gogh.  I'm so excited to visit a new city and to see friends we so rarely get to see.  

So hello from Amsterdam!  I'll be back next week with lots of pictures.


Where I Am...

I'm in Spain right now!  I have no connectivity, so I am posting this ahead of time.  Just to let you know where I am.  Hopefully at this time I will be exploring a neat little Spanish town in Catalonia.  And in a couple hours I will be watching my boys play in the pool with their cousins, and then I will enjoy some wine as we decide what to do for dinner.  Making simple decisions.  Soaking up the sunshine, catching up with my sister, and being far, far away from our normal, everyday routines.  


Recently Read...

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.  I adored this book.  Beautifully written, and I definitely felt like I really got to know and understand and feel for the main characters.  Unique and not predictable at all, I found myself reading slowly on purpose so I could savor every word.

One More Thing, by B.J. Novak.  A great book to have on your nightstand, because the stories are mostly very short.  Easy to read a few before bed.  The stories are original and funny.  Not especially deep, or detailed.  But it's a fun read.

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend, by James S. Hirsch.  As usual, I have to pick up at least one baseball book every summer.  My brother passed this biography down to me, and I had fun learning more about Willie Mays.

One Plus One, by Jojo Moyes.  It took me all of three days to devour this one.  I don't think it's quite on par with her other books that I've loved - I felt like I could see the movie, starring Rachel McAdams sporting a British accent and some handsome British actor - and it was fairly predictable.  But I loved it anyway.


What Do You Want To Do?

When I started telling people I was looking to go back to work, the first and most common question I got was, "What do you want to do?"  It sounds simple enough, but that's a deceptively complex question.  They would often follow it up with questions like, "Do you want to work part time?" or "Do you want to do the same thing you were doing before?"  My typical response included something like this:  "My biggest priority is to find something that will allow me to balance work with my home life.  So I'm going to start by looking at companies close to home.  I will ask for flexibility or part time.  What I do is less important to me than being able to do it and still have time for everything else."  

That last line.  I really meant it.  When I started the search, I just wanted a job.  I knew I wanted to go back to work, but I didn't really care what it was.  I just wanted something to do, something that would enable me to contribute financially to our family, but a job that would be easy enough/close enough for me to still do all the other things I wanted to do.  

So I started applying to jobs that were close to home, as well as jobs that I knew I was overqualified for.  Then I got a few interviews.  One was with a company really close to home.  One was with my old company.  When I started interviewing and talking to companies about the specific jobs and meeting the people with whom I'd be working....my thought process changed.  I realized that I did care.  I realized that I don't want to go back to a work situation where I'm just putting in the time in order to get a paycheck.  Those last couple of years before my break...I was miserable.  I don't want to do that again.  If I'm going to take time away from my kids and my family in order to work, it needs to be worth it.  It needs to be something that I will enjoy, something that I will be proud of, something that will motivate me beyond the paycheck.  

The job that is close to home is a good job.  It's a small company, and I think I could do well there.  The job with my old company would be very easy for me to do.  But I interviewed for another job as well.  It's in the city, so the commute will be awful.  It's actually a consulting job, so I'm not actually sure where I will be working every day - it depends on the client I am assigned to.  And of course it is full-time and it won't necessarily be easy.  But as I talked to people about it, I realized I started getting excited about the idea of being in consulting again (It's what I did the first half of my career).  I also realized that I really liked every person that I met with.  Smart, ambitious, cool people who lead full lives and have many interests both inside and outside of work.  I want to be around people like that.

They offered me a job yesterday, and I'm hopefully going to get the written offer and officially accept it before leaving for our trip at the end of the week.  I will start next month.

Ah!  And then I will stress out for a while until I figure out how we're going to do everything.  But I know we will.  We will find someone great to pick up the boys from school, and we will probably hire a house cleaner once we get to the point where we realize we don't have time for that any more, and I will find more recipes that I can make on the weekends and turn into new quick and easy meals during the week.  I will squeeze in occasional early bouts of exercise during the week and start exercising on the weekends again.  It will all work out.  And when I get settled in to my new job, I hope I'm able to say that it's all worth it.  I feel pretty good about it right now.

PS - Have you seen this video of Michelle Obama?  She speaks as someone who truly understands the struggles of balancing family with a professional work life.  Check it out.


Newport and the Month of Fun...

Entering July, we realized we had really fun plans for every single weekend, so we entitled it the "Month of Fun".  And it was!  We had a wonderful week at the lake, a visit to the Cape, a fun weekend in Maine with family, and we capped it all off with a weekend in Newport!  Whew - that's a lot of driving! 

Newport was a lot of fun.  I have to remind myself that my boys are 5 and 7 - not quite old enough to want to sit still for long periods of time to listen to music.  I came prepared with lots of diversions, but we also spent a lot of time in the family tent, which is thoughtfully full of crafts and snacks and even included a couple sets of corn hole.  We played games and did crafts while still getting to enjoy fabulous music on the main stage.  I did also make it to one of the smaller stages to see The Oh Hellos, which was my favorite show of the day.  Aaron stayed with me and agreed they were a ton of fun.  All in all, despite a few sprinkles in the middle of the afternoon, it was a beautiful day full of beautiful music.  

If you like that sort of thing, you could listen to a few of the shows we saw.  NPR has several of the main stage concerts online, including Nickel Creek, Aoife O'Donovan, and Shovels & Rope.  They were all really good.

So our month of fun is over, and we haven't even gone on our big trip yet!  Only 12 days until Spain and Amsterdam!  Wow I'm spoiled.  


Newport Folk Festival Preview

photo via theBERRY

It's Newport time again!  We are making our 3rd annual visit to the Newport Folk Festival tomorrow, and I can't wait!  It is seriously one of my favorite days of the year.  One of these years we will make it a whole weekend, but for now, one glorious Saturday a year works.  

I've been strategizing over the show schedule for a couple weeks now, and I think I'm settled on our plan.  It wasn't quite as grueling as it has been in years past, although I truly want to see everyone!  

Here's the plan.  Aoife O'Donovan starts us out in the morning on the Fort (main) stage.  Should be a lovely way to start the day.  Fingers crossed for warm sunshine and cool breezes.

We will then head to the smaller Quad stage to check out The Oh Hello's.  I am really excited to hear these guys live.  Should be fun.

On to the Harbor stage to see J. Roddy Walston and The Business.  Awesome.  Aaron promised he will dance with me when they play "Marigold".  I expect a rock-out session, with lots of dancing and singing along.

It killed me that we missed Shovels & Rope last year, so I was ridiculously excited that they are back again.  And playing the Fort stage!  I might have to go up front to the dancing section for this show.  

And this song.....it's from their new album, out next month.  I keep playing it over and over...turning it up real loud and singing along.  It's infectious.  

We're going to hang around in front of the Fort stage for the rest of the afternoon, because really, there's no reason to move when they keep putting on great music.  Deer Tick will be fun to watch.  I've been going back to their latest album a lot in anticipation.

Then Nickel Creek!  I've been enjoying their latest album - their first in many years - so I'm excited to hear them play live.

And how's Jack White for a headliner!?  I seriously love his latest album.  He is going to kick ass, and I can't wait to see it.  Hopefully the boys will still be going strong at this point.  Jack will be loud and crazy and awesome and a perfect way to end a fabulous day of music.


A Few Things...

Just a few things I've run across lately...

Have you watched Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee yet?  It's a web series by Jerry Seinfeld - basically he takes a famous friend out for coffee, and the show is their conversation.  It's very entertaining.  I loved the most recent episode, with Jon Stewart.  I also really enjoyed Sarah Jessica Parker.  And Tina Fey.  And Ricky Gervais.  And Louis CK.  Oh my gosh Alec Baldwin cracked me up.  So many good ones.  You get to see a little of their real personalities, which can be fascinating when you only know them as their characters.

I love Eddie Vedder.

Every now and then, Kevin will throw out a comment about Harvard into a conversation, and my reaction is always "our kids are not going to Harvard".  Of course you can get a good education at Harvard, but something about it - and the rest of the Ivy League - has always made me uncomfortable.  I think this article helps articulate what it is.   I want more for my kids.

Here's another trick for getting your kids to try new vegetables.

Tina Fey and Jason Bateman are awesome.  Here's yet another movie I want to see.

Being informed and fashionable is natural for women.  I liked this opinion piece in the Washington Post.

I am going to Amsterdam in just a few weeks!  I loved reading Simone's post about her recent visit.

Holy wow this is an amazing transformation.

Born in the USA turns 30 this year, and there is a tribute album.  Must check it out.

I think about how good my kids have it all the time.  We are lucky to be able to provide so much for them, and yet I worry about spoiling them.  How do we ensure they understand?  This article is good and in line with our way of thinking.

I like reading inspiring parenting posts, and I've run across a few good ones lately.  Sometimes they are too short to be well-balanced, but they often provide good reminders.
This one reminded me to slow down.
This one made me stop and think about the questions I ask them at the end of the day.
This one made me feel good about our full bookshelves.
This one made me smile and think of my two awesome boys, who never stop, get pee everywhere, and love their Mom.


What's Going On...

I love that we live near the coast.  I really don't think I could ever live too far away from the ocean.  To be honest, we don't go very often, but I like knowing it's there, and we do make it to the beach at least a few times during the summer.  In fact, we've spent the last two weekends on the beach.  The first was a beautiful weekend with friends on Cape Cod, and this past weekend we were in Maine.  

We have visited the same town in Maine every summer for five years now, and I think it is a pretty solid family tradition at this point.  It's a perfect long weekend trip (actually we could easily spend an entire summer here!) - not too far away, great hotel with indoor and outdoor pools, walking distance to everything, lots of good restaurants to choose from, beautiful beaches, harbors, shops, etc.  It's great.  

What else is going on?  Well, my job search continues.  The boys started camp last week, and it was perfect timing, since I had interviews every day!  I have two good possibilities at this point, and I'm encouraged by the fact that I've made progress so quickly.  Both jobs have pros and cons, of course, and although I've been trying to soak in the family vacation moments, I must confess that I find myself thinking about my future employment pretty much all the time.  In addition to thinking about what our new schedule will look like, I've been contemplating after-school care for the boys and managing their activities.  It's intimidating to say the least.  Overall, though, I feel optimistic and positive about the whole venture.  

When I'm not interviewing or job searching or emailing contacts, I'm exercising and tackling house cleaning/organizing tasks.  Today I started cleaning out the fridge.  Ick.  But oh it will feel so good when I'm done.  I want to be as organized as possible when my return to work begins.  I also want to appreciate my last weeks at home.  I'm thinking I need to do something a bit decadent next week...   

As I was taking pictures of the boys running into the (very cold!) ocean in Maine, I realized that I always take the same picture.  Every year, the same beach.  It is already fun to look back and see the boys growing.  My, how the time flies...


Outdoor Living...

Family gathering around the bonfire...photo by my cousin Lynne.

We had a beautiful week in New York, on Lake Ontario.

Glorious sunsets every night.  It's so hard not to try to take a picture of every one, but I did manage to sit still and just watch for a while.

Bedtimes have been pushed (way) back, mornings have been lazy.  

Dirty feet from being barefoot all day.

We picked cherries, which I realized I had never done before.  Trees bursting with ruby-colored fruit, we could pick them by the handful.  So sweet.  We ate and ate and ate.

Sticky popsicle faces.

We enjoyed a day at the amusement park.  The boys had their first ride on a roller coaster, which was big enough to make me squeal with laughter too.  We spent time in the water park, riding in pairs down the big water slide.  I felt like a kid.

Suitcases exploded in the tent, and yet I loved the outdoor living.  Sleeping outside in the fresh air, reading by the light of the lantern, early morning yoga while the boys slept in.

Dinner for 50.  It was an impressive gathering of family.  I loved catching up, and it was fun to see my boys play with cousins (actually mostly second cousins) they just met.

We had one morning of fun with the boat.  The boys and I rode the Gladiator, and Aaron got to go out riding and swimming with the big kids.

Singing around the bonfire.  Aaron sang a couple songs with me as I played on my guitar, and it made my heart swell.

Burnt marshmallows.  The best kind.

Awe-inspiring starry night skies.   I looked up until I saw a shooting star.  And then I looked some more.

I came home feeling refreshed, full of fresh air and love.  It's no wonder this is one of my favorite places in the world.



My baby is five.  We celebrated with a Hotwheels party at home.  Racetracks, an obstacle course, a piƱata, and ice cream cake.  A few things about my sweet and beautiful boy...

1.  His favorite color changes by the day, but most often it's still blue.
2.  He still loves pasta, but he chooses grilled cheese or pizza most often now.  He will eat some meat, but only selected kinds.  He does really well with most veggies.  
3.  Cereal for breakfast, although he'd have waffles or pancakes every day if I made them for him.
4.  His favorite TV show is Wild Kratts.  It's basically the only one he watches.  It's pretty remarkable how much he has learned about animals as well as geography from watching this show.
5.  He loves legos.  He plays with his mini figures all the time.
6.  He's done with preschool, and he's excited to be in the same school with his big brother in the Fall.
7.  He still turns everything into a gun, a sword, or a bat.  I'm eagerly waiting for this phase to end.
8.  He plays on his own quite a bit, and he creates little worlds for himself and his toys.  It's so cool to watch.  
9.  His artistic flair points to large, dramatic scribbles, but he has added some recognizable objects.  These include people - including belly buttons!, rainbows, houses, grass and trees...
10.  He loves riding his two-wheel bike, but his scooter is still his favorite.  
11.  He loves baseball.  Having batting practice in the back field, playing catch, running the bases...
12.  Every night at bedtime, we read a couple stories, and he then asks for a couple toys to play with in bed.  A couple superheroes, a bunch of mini figures, a few hot wheels cars...  
13.  He still has his blonde hair.  I hope it stays - it's beautiful with his dark chocolate-brown eyes.
14.  He is getting stingier with his hugs and kisses, but I still get one every morning and every night.  I steal more when I can.  

Update:  I forgot to mention this and I don't want to ever forget it.  About a week before his birthday, I told Nathan that I wanted him to stay 4 forever.  Four is so sweet, and snuggly, and fun, and awesome.  He said, "Mom, I can't stay 4.  I have to turn 5, and then 6, and then 7..."  I said, "But why?"  His response?  "I don't know, Mom, that's just the way life works.  But 5 will be awesome too."  Oh my goodness I just adore this kid.


Recently Read

TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann.  I really enjoyed this one.  I loved 'Let the Great World Spin', which is by the same author, so I had high expectations.  It delivered.  The author weaves several stories together, and it's fascinating to think about how our lives are impacted by those who came before us and how they may have an affect on people in the future.  He also uses the historical facts surrounding some famous men as a backdrop, but the main characters in the book are fictional women who merely brush past those men in life.  Beautifully written.

The Dinner, by Herman Koch.  I had high expectations for this book, too, especially when you read the reviews on the cover.  On the cover, Gillian Flynn ('Gone Girl') writes, "Chilling, Nasty, Smart, Shocking, and Unputdownable."  So naturally, that's what I expected.  Overall, it was an okay book, and it would probably be a good one for a book club, because I can see the discussions it would naturally start.  How far would you go to protect your children?  I wouldn't go so far as to use those descriptors, though.  I'd say it was smart, thought-provoking, and a decent read.

This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz.  This book is so refreshingly different.  The writing is raw and unique, and it is written just as people talk.  I could hear the voices as I was reading.  The characters are Dominican, which I will admit is a culture that I am not very familiar with, and the setting is the Northeast US - specifically New York and Boston.   Overall, I didn't feel a ton of emotional resonance, but I think that's primarily because the topic (basically the main characters cheats on all his girlfriends) and culture is so foreign to me.  I still enjoyed it and found it fascinating.


A Few Things...

Just a few random things for your reading pleasure...

This salad.  My garden is very full of romaine lettuce and kale at the moment, so I searched my pins to find a new way to use them.  I chose this salad recipe and holy cow is it good!  It has pretty much been my lunch for the last two weeks, and it will most likely continue to be for a while.  I tried adding apple, which was okay, but the next day I added an avocado and some brown rice....perfection.  Seriously.  Sooooo good.

A Conversation With Neil Degrasse Tyson About Cosmos, Race, and Celebrity.  I love Neil Degrasse Tyson.  He's such an interesting person, and every time I listen to him, I want to go out and learn something.

Pixar's new movie.  It's called "Inside Out" and won't be released until next year.  It sounds fascinating, though, and I'm already looking forward to it.

An Important Post About How to Prepare Your Teen for Certain Situations.  I appreciated this post.  I'm still several years away from having to deal with most of this stuff, but I find myself looking forward, preparing myself for the harder conversations.  Helping my kids navigate the teen years.

Conor Oberst performing at NPR's Tiny Desk.  If you haven't listened to his new album yet, check out this sweet little concert.

A beautiful last article by Rick Reilly, a popular sportswriter.

Six Things You Should Know About Spotify.  I spend a lot of money on music.  If I joined Spotify, I would most definitely save money, but I don't think I could ever do it.  It just seems wrong somehow. If I'm spending less, it must mean the artists are getting less, and they're already not getting much from album sales.  I find myself buying t-shirts as much to support the band as to wear.  Do you use Spotify?  Or rely on Pandora for your music?  So many of my friends don't buy music at all anymore, and it makes me sad.

The Newport lineup is complete.  And awesome.  Now I just need the schedule so I can strategize.  I think I'm most looking forward to seeing J. Roddy Walston & the Business - I think they will be a ton of fun to see live.  And The Oh Hellos.  And Jack White.  Have you listened to Jack White's new album?  Really, really good.  Oh and Shovels & Rope!  Man I hope the schedule is conducive to my wishes.

photo by Carli Nicole


To Not Making Plans...

We had a really nice weekend.  The weather has been glorious, and it has allowed us to play outside in the warm sunshine all day long.   The weekend was a mix of planned events - birthday parties, camp orientation, a neighbor's graduation party - and the unplanned.  

After camp orientation, we decided to go out to dinner, but we had some extra time to kill.  So we went to a nearby playground for a bit.  When the boys wanted to leave, we still had some time, so we went into a local bookstore.  I just love bookstores, and I really loved my boys' reactions to the idea of going into one.   "Ooh I LOVE bookstores!  Can we get a book?  Please?!?"  I'm a sucker when it comes to books, and all four of us left with a couple.  We then enjoyed a nice dinner, eating outside, and the boys were entertained by their new books.  Awesome.

Sunday was similar.  The day was relatively wide open, so we spent a lot of time working and playing in the yard.  The boys were getting a little bored, though, so I thought I'd take them someplace nearby to ride bikes.  The place we were going to go had an event going on, so we had to come up with a plan B.  We decided to go to Wellesley College, which is also very close.  My husband goes running there all the time, but I actually hadn't seen a lot of the campus, even though I pass it every day.  It is a beautiful school, and we had a really nice walk while the boys had fun riding through tunnels and down the hills.  

We had fun at a neighbor's cookout, and we finished the day eating ice cream and yelling at the TV during that crazy USA-Portugal World Cup game.  

A beautiful weekend.  The planned and the unplanned.  

Aaron asked me what we have planned to do this week.  He is one who appreciates having plans every day.  I have a few ideas of things we might do, but we're going to play it by ear.  I need to show him that being spontaneous is a beautiful thing too.  


Endings and New Beginnings...

I've fallen out of my blog rhythm again.  The boys are out of school and so my routine has been upended.  Most of my online time seems to be dedicated to job applications and updates to the cover letter.  I do wake up early and generally get an hour or so before the little people wake up, but that's my exercise time.  I'm taking this morning off (I've been good and I deserve it!), so here I am.  

My little man and I have been spending a lot of quality time together.  My baby.  He's such a fascinating character, and I'm so grateful to be able to hang out with him like this.  He's had to accompany me on errands, but we've also managed to have a little fun along the way.  It's been a glorious week weather-wise, which always helps.  Summer is definitely here.  

My big boy had his last day of school yesterday, and we celebrated at a pool party at a new friend's house.  Tons of kids running around, and lots of families to get to know.  So much emotion from the older kids who finished elementary school and will be moving up next year.  So much excitement from all of them.  Our town conducts a "step-up day" on the last day of the school year, allowing the kids to meet their new teacher and see who will be in their class.  It's a wonderful way to end the year...with anticipation for the next.  My son was very happy to discover the friends who will be in his class, so of course I was as well.  

Other endings....Aaron wrapped up his first year of piano, and his teacher gave him a CD of songs he played at his lessons.  They generally recorded a song every week.  The progress was astounding!  And baseball.  Last night was the last game of the season.  It's still non-competitive at this age, and here I think it's a good thing.  The focus has been on learning the game, supporting your teammates, practicing skills.  Aaron loved it.  Just for fun, they gave Nathan a uniform and let him have a turn at bat at the end of the game.  He hit a hard shot down the first base line and ran around the bases to loud cheers from the crowd.  Such a fun way to end the year.  

And me....well, the job search continues.  I am getting conversations set up for the weeks the boys are at camp next month.  Fingers crossed.  Next I need to determine what I will wear.  I must admit, there is a part of me that is growing excited at the prospect of returning to work.  There is a lot to figure out, and so I often get overwhelmed at the thought of it.  But when I push all that aside for a moment, I realize that it will feel good to get back to it.  To use my brain in a different way, to contribute financially, to share the house/parenting responsibilities more equally with my husband.  It will be a good thing.  

So to today.  Our first full day of Summer vacation.  The sun is shining and the air is warm.  As I look at our very full Summer calendar, I am eager with anticipation.  I will work to slow it down as much as possible, soaking in every moment.  We have nothing planned for today, and that's just fine by me.  


Taking Stock

From Sunday night's First Aid Kit show.  Damn they are good.

Making:  lots of salads with the lettuce and kale from the garden.  What a pleasure to be able to go out and pick exactly what I need.
Cooking:  food on the grill, since it's finally summer!  But tonight...teriyaki ginger meatballs, rice, and broccoli.  Tomorrow, my favorite spring meal...pasta primavera.
Drinking:  water, water, and more water.  Sometimes a splash of lemonade in it, or a squeeze of lime. I've been trying to cut down the alcohol, and I've done pretty well the last few weeks.
Reading:  Just started This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz.  Oh, and How to Train Your Dragon with Aaron.
Wanting:  a casual pair of capris.  Why are they so hard to find?
Looking:  at families with two working parents for inspiration.
Playing:  new songs on my guitar.  Conor Oberst is my current musical inspiration.
Wasting:  too much time on Facebook - it's time to take another break, so I removed it from my phone and logged out on the computer.
Sewing:  ha!
Wishing:  my sisters lived closer.
Enjoying:  First Aid Kit's new album.  I bought the vinyl record at their show last night, and it may stay on the turntable for a good long while.  Beautiful.
Waiting:  for summer vacation to start, and yet trying to savor each moment along the way.
Liking:  the sounds of baseball from the backyard.
Wondering:  how long it will take us to fix our front door.  Ugh.
Hoping:  that I find a good job (My definition of good.)
Marveling:  at how cool my boys are.  I mean, I know, obvious, and I'm their mom, but really.
Needing:  work clothes.  Well, I don't need them yet, but I'm realizing that I most definitely will.
Smelling:  fresh tomato scent on my fingers after tending to the garden.  No tomatoes yet, but they're coming.
Wearing:  shorts and a tee.  Pretty much every day.
Following:  musicians and comedians and astronauts on Twitter.  Smile a little, laugh a little, learn a little.  See also:  wasting time.
Noticing:  the house is kind of messy.  I think I'm okay with kind of messy.
Knowing:  I eat too much ice cream.  See also:  not caring.
Thinking:  too many things.  All the time.  Working on quieting my mind.
Bookmarking:  too many recipes on Pinterest.  I need to start making some of them or quit bothering!
Watching:  the season finale of Turn.  A show Kevin and I agree on.
Giggling:  every time the boys fart and crack up laughing.  I know I shouldn't encourage them, but...
Feeling:  grateful for my beautiful, healthy family and our happy little life.

*Copied from Bridget at Tales of Me and the Husband,  who copied it from someone else, who copied it from...


First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining

I've been listening to First Aid Kit's new album via NPR, and I am so looking forward to its release next week.  We are going to see these lovely ladies in concert on Sunday evening - yay!  When I told Aaron, he was disappointed he couldn't go with us.  They were his favorite band from our first visit to the Newport Folk Festival.

Give them a listen.  You won't be disappointed.

Keep on keeping on.


Menu Planning

pictures via Martha Stewart, Real Simple, MyRecipes, Bon Appetit

I haven't gotten completely organized yet, but I do feel like dinner is back under control.  The first step I took was to collect all of my online recipes into this post!  Looking back through previous menus and saving the recipes that my family liked was a simple exercise, and now I have an easy place to look for inspiration.  This list contains all recipes that we've eaten more than once and will definitely make again.  I was surprised to see how many dishes we already had in our rotation!

I will still like to add new dishes from time to time, and there are other meals not included here that we eat quite frequently that don't require recipes.  Part of me would still like the organized binder, but being able to pull these up on the iPad in the kitchen works just as well.  It'd be fun if someone else out there got a benefit from this list, but mostly I'm doing this for me.

Turkey Mini-Meat Loaves
Ginger-Soy Chicken Thighs
Chicken Parmesan
Turkey Burritos
Marinated Chicken
Almond-Stuffed Chicken
Baked Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce
Turkey Burgers with Oven Fries
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
Chicken Tenders
Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Quesadillas
Spicy Chicken Cakes
Chicken Breasts stuffed with Artichokes, Lemon, and Goat Cheese
Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Noodles
Roast Chicken
Sloppy Joes
Arugula Salad with Grilled Chicken, Corn, Tomatoes, and Blue Cheese

New England Clam and Corn Chowder
Maple-Dijon Salmon
Fish Tacos
Sauteed Tilapia with Honey-Scallion Dressing
Lemon-Pepper Shrimp Scampi
Lemon-Tarragon Crab Cakes
Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks
Easy Baked Fish Fillets
Sauteed Scallops
Shrimp Kebabs

Pasta Primavera
Pasta with Goat Cheese and Asparagus
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Turkey Bolognese
Baked Ziti
Penne with Shrimp, Peas, and Pesto
Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage
Macaroni & Cheese with Butternut Squash
Summer Ziti
Spring Risotto
Happy Pasta
Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle
Rigatoni with Roasted Sausage and Broccoli
Lemon Spaghetti
Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese
Linguini with Spring Vegetables
Penne with Vodka Sauce

Vegetarian Chili
Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Corn, Potato, and Leek Chowder
Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
Corn and Butternut Squash Chowder
Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan and Fried Sage Leaves

Black Bean Quesadillas with Corn Salsa
Southwestern Salad
Vegetable Frittata with Roasted Potatoes or Potato-Onion Frittata
Red Leaf Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato
Roasted Corn and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa
Double Bean Burgers with Avocado Basil Cream
Sweet Potato, Corn, and Kale Chowder
Grilled Eggplant with Tomato and Feta
Thai Vegetable Curry
Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta

Corn and Avocado Salad
Feta-Rosemary Potatoes
Sauteed Kale


Amazing Boys...

Being a mother of boys is a beautiful thing.  It's muddy and dirty and full of fart noises and wrestling matches and scraped shins.  I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about trucks, dinosaurs, superheroes, and animals.  I have tripped over lego buildings and stepped on more hot wheels cars than I can count.  I have also received the best, sweetest hugs ever.  I have been given weed bouquets and kisses on my cheek and painted family portraits that I will save forever and ever.  And it's a good thing I love baseball.  

Do you ever have those moments when you look at your kid(s) and are amazed they exist?  I mean, we made these little people.  Who are so like me and my husband and yet unique to themselves.  Sometimes I just sit and stare at them, in awe and wonder.  They are beautiful, wonderful, strange little boys.  I am so unbelievably happy to have them in my life.  

telling secrets and making each other laugh...may it always be so


What's Going On...

Nathan had his preschool graduation earlier this week.  He was so happy and proud, and I had such a fun time watching him sing songs and get his diploma.  He was especially happy that his grandma got to come too.  Kindergarten here he comes!

My baby is also riding a bike!  We decided to get his birthday present a little early, and he is ridiculously excited about it.  We took the training wheels off as soon as we got home, and he was riding it on his own the first day!  (Love love love balance bikes for making this process so easy.)

I'm having a pretty low-key week, hanging out with Nathan and trying to get some things done here and there.  Aaron's still in school, and baseball and piano are still on the schedule, so it's mostly the same routine through June.  But we're almost there!

In the meantime:  birthday parties, field day, teacher gifts, school celebrations...

I'm back in my dinner-making groove.  Expect a mammoth recipe list soon.

My job search will get into full swing next week.  Wish me luck!  I only want to find a fulfilling job I enjoy that will allow me to stay flexible so I can take care of myself and my family too.  That shouldn't be so hard to find, right?

In the meantime:  appreciating all the little moments, like midday bike riding, prepping dinner in the morning, leisurely leftover lunches...


Conor Oberst - Time Forgot


Conor Oberst has always fascinated me.  His lyrics are so intricate and thoughtful, and I will spend time with one song for hours, trying to figure out what it means.  His latest album, Upside Down Mountain, is probably my favorite to date.

I haven't chosen a favorite song yet, and I couldn't choose a video to include here, so I just picked the first two songs off the album.  Enjoy and happy Friday!

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